PUBLISHED: 09:18 24 February 2014
Skipping about the fields, nuzzling into their mothers or almost spinning their tails in delight at feeding time - the antics of newborn lambs are guaranteed to raise a smile. And from February half-term through the spring, there will be plenty of chances to see lambs - and if you're lucky you might even get the chance to bottle-feed one - with our guide:
Head to Easton and Otley College’s annual lambing weekend on Saturday, 1 March, and Sunday, 2 March. Entrance is just £1 per person with under-fives going free. Watching the lambs being born is an unforgettable experience, and there is the chance to hold newborn lambs and take tractor and trailer tours around the farm. Easton and Otley College, Easton, Norwich. NR9 5DX; 01603 731200; www.eastonotley.ac.uk.
Snettisham Park opens for the season on March 1 for lambing. With two large flocks, the lambing continues until April. The ewes lamb indoors, enabling visitors to see some being born and others taking their first steps. Visitors can also bottle-feed some of the lambs.
Snettisham Park, Bircham Road, Snettisham, PE31 7NG; 01485 542425; www.snettishampark.co.uk.
Wroxham Barns’ popular lamb feeding sessions start in February half-term on Saturday, 15 February, and continue until June. The lambs are orphans taken in and cared for every year from grateful farmers around Norfolk and Suffolk.
During the bottle-feeding sessions at Junior Farm, a member of the team explains more about the lambs and children can take it in turns to help feed them. Wroxham Barns, Tunstead Road, Hoveton, NR12 8QU; 01603 783762; www.wroxhambarns.co.uk
At Melsop Farm Park, the lambing season starts a little later with the many different rare breeds who live there giving birth throughout the spring. Find out more about the different breeds and as well as seeing the lambs, watch out for cute piglets, baby goats and tiny chicks.
Melsop Farm Park, Ellingham Road, Scoulton, NR9 4NT; 01953 851943; www.melsopfarmpark.co.uk
At Church Farm, Stow Bardolph, visit the lambs during half-term, with births continuing until May. The farm usually has between 150 and 200 lambs, starting early with the Norfolk Horns and ending usually with the Wensleydales later in the season. Explore the farm, meet all the animals and get the chance to bottle-feed a lamb.
Church Farm, Stow Bardolph, PE34 3HT; 01366 382162; www.churchfarmstowbardolph.co.uk
Our charming cover shot was photographed at Crogham Farm, near Wymondham, home of Jonathan and Carroll Barber and of their flock of Charollais sheep and lambs.
Jonathan and his family brought the first Charollais from France to the UK in the late 1970s. Carroll explains: “They brought them in because of the trend for a leaner meat; lamb was seen as very fatty and this was a very high quality meat sheep. The Charollais are also very easy lambing for the sheep and shepherd because they are fine boned and don’t have big heads, although they do have fast growth.”
Today the breed is the second most important for meat production in this country. The Barbers set up the Charollais Sheep Society (www.charollaissheep.com), based at their farm, which has 800 members across the UK. “We look after pedigree registration and everything for the breed, including publications, education, sales, stands at specialist sheep events, performance recording for the breed and more,” she says.
So what is February like on a sheep farm? “Quite hard work,” smiles Carroll. “Our sheep lambed in the middle of December, which was very intense for a week with 105 ewes lambing in that period. So now the young stock are growing - they are all indoors on a winter feeding regime at the moment because the spring grass hasn’t come in yet. And we have taken off the triplets, as the ewes only have two teats, so we have 16 of those that we are feeding - there’s lots to do!”
Model: Sam Edwards, Sandra Reynolds Model Agency; 01603 623842; www.sandrareynolds.co.uk
Photographer: Angela Sharpe; www.angelasharpephotography.co.uk
Clothes: Cover shot, Harris Tweed jacket, £279.95; Barbour terracotta scarf, £19.95; both from Gallyons Country Clothing, 7 Bedford Street, Norwich, NR2 1AN, 01603 622845, www.gallyonsclothing.co.uk. Jeans and boots, model’s own.
Pictured here, Irelandseye cherry jumper, £79.95; Moore and Moore faux fur scarf, £29.95; both from Gallyons, as above. Jeans and boots, model’s own.